Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino said that they are now in the process of asking which national sports associations (NSAs) are looking to train its athletes in a bubble set-up.
The amiable executive said as much in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast, although he made it clear that athletes set to compete in major international competitions this year will take priority.
“Papunta na kami roon. We’ll be asking other NSAs na gusto. Siyempre ang priority roon, ‘yung [Olympic] qualifying [tournaments] and ‘yung Southeast Asian Games, and then ‘yung AIMAG (Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games).
“Paunahin na natin mag-bubble ‘yung mga participants nung mga ‘yun kaysa dun sa iba,” said Tolentino.
Several global contests are in store for the national athletes amidst the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will be held from May 21-30 in the cities of Bangkok and Chonburi in Thailand. The country has been taking part in the quadrennial meet since its inception in 2005.
“Mauuna ‘yung AIMAG,” Tolentino told the session powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Beer, Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Then, of course, there will be the various Olympic Qualifying Tournaments to be staged in the months heading into the much-anticipated Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan scheduled from July 23-Aug. 8.
And before the year ends, the 31st Southeast Asian Games will take place in Vietnam from Nov. 21-Dec. 2. The Philippines is the reigning overall champions of the biennial meet following a dominant showing in 2019.
According to Tolentino, it is important to determine first and foremost the number of athletes who need housing in a bubble for their training.
“Ang critical kasi roon is to identify first sino ‘yung ipapadala. Lalaro pa ba sila ng National Open or ready na ba ‘yung list of participants? Then, go. We will apply for bubble training,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved training in bubbles for athletes vying for the Tokyo Games last month.
Tolentino said that the training, which they will hold at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, will commence on Jan. 9.
“Nag-aantay na lang po ng go-signal ang mga atleta natin from the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission). Ang pagkakaalam ko diyan, mga January 9,” the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives said.